Value of Libraries: Presentations at IFLA

I went to the session for the Measuring Impact and of course like all conferences there is another session, What is Value, I want to attend is at the same time and on the opposite side of the convention center. I have my walking shoes on today.

Here is the summary of the two sessions I mentioned.

Measuring Impact: This focused on measuring the impact on IFLA’s Lyon Declaration. Interesting to an American because I think we take our access to information so granted.

What is Value: I came late to this program so I only got some of the session. British National Library talked about the value to the cities they serve. They were able to determine that for every pound the government spend on libraries they had a ROI of 4 pounds in business, development and jobs. They had a really good slide on the different values which is on my Facebook page.

Awesome presentation from Elliott Shore, executive director at ARL, Measures of Our Time: The Value of Libraries. Perhaps it is because I’m a big proponent of killing of sacred cows but Elliott’s talk really hit home. The best way for me to describe his talk is to point you to the pictures of his slides on my Facebook page. But here are some memorable quotes.

-The world has changed, have we?

-We need a radical change in how we collect statistics.

-We need predictive analysis rather than descriptive analysis.

He also gave a nice shout out to Becker Medical Library as example of a library that is doing a good job of rethinking and showing their value. Good job Becker!

Live from Cape Town its IFLA

Since most readers will be reading this when I’m asleep, I probably should say this has been previously recorded. I will be posting pictures and thoughts on the fly on my Facebook page so check it out.

So this is my first IFLA conference and so far I’ve attended the U.S. Caucus meeting, Newcomers breakfast, the Opening Ceremony, and the Exhibits Opening.

I will give my quick thoughts on the sessions I have attended.

US Caucus: It is like the business meeting for the Americans.  They summarize IFLA business as a whole. CEO of ALA started everything off and introduced people. The planning committee members for 2016 IFLA (in Columbus, OH) were there as well to try to drum up interest.

Newcomers breakfast: It was very typical of many newbie conference sessions.  They explained the elaborate color coding in the program and encouraged people to talk and meet others. It would have been nice if they explained IFLA structure a bit, but that really did not happen. Perhaps the structure is too complex for a brief newbies breakfast.  There were a lot of people at this session so there was no opportunity to do the speed networking session that we have done at MLA and has been so successful. Instead we were let out “early” to enjoy coffee and “cakes” (muffins) and to get to know each other.

Opening Ceremony: The opening ceremony was huge. There are approximately 3,000 attendees and the reception hall reflected that with three big screens and rows and rows of chairs.  There were beautiful songs and story telling in the custom of Africa to open the proceedings.  The President of IFLA spoke on their Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development. The Key Note speaker, Dr. Rob Adam, spoke on the SKA Project and data. He brought up several interesting things about the big data that will come from the SKA project.

– They will need a super computer faster than anything that has been created in 2015.

–  There will be so much data they will need a network so robust that it can handle the entire world’s data worth.

– The data will be open access but embargoed. While they want to make the data available to everyone, they acknowledge that participating in SKA is expensive and they must recognize those who have the foresight to participate have first access.

Opening Exhibits: There are lots of vendors in the exhibit area with lots of variety. I was amazed by the giant photo and preservation machines displayed (and working) at some booths.

BTW very little vendor swag at the opening exhibit. Not even a lot of pens.

Getting Ready for IFLA Meeting

I leave for South Africa in two weeks for the IFLA meeting.  I will spend the first week traveling with my husband, sister, and brother in law.  My brother in law is South African so we are fortunate to have our own personal tour guide to take us around.  August is winter in South Africa (highs of 60-70 degrees and lows of 40-50 degrees).  It is chilly but coming from Cleveland, that ain’t winter, that’s  spring weather in my mind.

As excited as I am about touring around the country that first week, I am just as excited about going to my first conference outside of North America.  Along with this excitement comes some uncertainty.  I pulled up the conference program this weekend to map out my conference plan of attack.  As I was making my schedule I began to feel like I did when I was making my schedule to attend my very first MLA meeting back in 2001 in Orlando.  I had no clue what to expect back then and I have no clue as to what to expect at IFLA.

Similar to MLA they have a newcomer session where I will be introduced to IFLA and meet people.  Like MLA they have A LOT of sessions, too many for me to attend all of them.  Thankfully some are out of my scope like “Access to Legal Information and Legislative Data in Africa: the Role of Libraries and Librarians – Library and Research Services for Parliaments, Africa and the Law Libraries” making it a little easier for my schedule.

I am sure there were will also be opportunities at IFLA for events and parties where I will be able to meet new people.  I just don’t know about them yet, my guess is that like MLA these aren’t on the official schedule.  As MLA President I am going to IFLA to represent MLA and its members to a large diverse international library audience.  I would like to use this opportunity to speak with and meet as many biomedical, health sciences librarians as possible to get a better understanding and perspective on MLA’s international presence.

Right now MLA’s international presence has been rather scatter shot.  I would like to understand things better so that we as an organization can determine our international role in a more cohesive and strategic manner.  My hope is that by attending IFLA, I will not only learn library things for my regular job but also learn about the role of medical, health science librarianship in the world and what part MLA can have in that.

It kind of feels like a lofty goal as I stare at the IFLA program and feel like a conference newbie again.  I just need to remember the advice from the MLA New Members & Attendees breakfast, “just talk to people, librarians are nice.”

New Writers For the Krafty Blog

In the next few days and weeks there will be several posts by people who have agreed to write for this blog.  I have asked them to write a short paragraph about themselves for two reasons.

  1. So I know I set everything up correctly.
  2. So you can get to know the new authors.

For years the Krafty Librarian has been about me and what I find interesting in medical librarianship and technology.  Through the years of going to conferences, workshops, and meeting with other medical librarians I have learned that all medical librarians are a little “krafty.” We try and do whatever we can to get the information to our users and we think outside of the box.  So the next phase of this blog will be not just about me (I will still be posting) it will include other krafty librarians and their thoughts.

I look forward to reading about each author and I look forward to the new direction that we are taking this blog.  I hope you all do too. There may be some bumps along the way but we will get it all figured out.  :)

Why Do You Visit the MLA Exhibit Hall?

A while back ago MLA sent out its meeting survey asking attendees their opinions about the meeting.  Lots of questions are asked so that MLA staff and future NPC (National Programming Committees) can learn from the responses.

I noticed one question needed a little bit of updating.  The question is regarding the exhibit hall and what types of information or products you (the librarian) is looking for.

(Question from the survey)
Check the types of information or products you were looking for: (Check all that apply)

  • Publications
  • Integrated information systems
  • Subscription services
  • Computer hardware & software
  • Online services
  • Binding services
  • Photocopying equipment
  • Security systems
  • Films & videotapes
  • AV equipment
  • Data-retrieval systems
  • Library furniture
  • Other health organizations
  • Other (has a text box to specify)

So my first thought is this question, specifically its answers, is dated.  Who is looking for films and videotapes in 2015. Online image bank collections yes, but films and videotapes?

My second thought is, how many people are clicking publications and subscription services and can/should those answers be more specific? For example aren’t a lot of our services subscription services?  Do we need something like journal subscription services, ebook subscription services, database subscription services? Or, does journal and ebook subscription services handled with the publications answer?

There are probably two reasons for the existence of this question.

  1. MLA wants to find more vendors that are relevant to librarian needs.
  2. MLA wants vendors to share what librarians are looking for/need.

So dropping the question is not a good idea, MLA staff and NPC’s still need that type of information.  However, we it needs to be revised.  This is where I am asking for your help.  Please either comment here on the blog, Twitter (@Krafty) or on my Facebook page with a few things of what you are looking for when you visit the exhibit hall.




Medlibs Chat: Presidential Priorities, I Have No Priorities

Join us tomorrow (6:00pm Pacific / 9:00pm Eastern) on the #medlibs chat as I try to successfully balance watching the Cavs in the NBA playoffs and moderating the discussion on the changes happening within MLA, specifically the MLA strategic plan.

(reposted from #medlibs chat blog)

In the past each MLA President has presented their list of priorities for the upcoming year for MLA.  This year is a little different. I have no priorities.  OK, that sounds a lot different. But it really isn’t.  Instead of coming up with priorities each year the incoming president will look at MLA’s strategic plan and evaluate the goals within the plan.  If we are near accomplishing a goal, then the incoming president looks at other potential goals that we should add to the strategic plan. The idea is that these goals live long enough for accomplishment and are not specifically tied to the president’s term. They are part of the entire MLA strategic plan which is tied to MLA, the board, staff, etc. As in the case of MLA’s technology goal, a goal could be accomplished in less than a year.  In the case of the Education goal, it may take more than a year.  However, steps toward accomplishing that goal will be continually happening.

Speaking of continually happening… In years prior the time line for getting things done always seemed to be centered around the meeting in May.  Why? There are probably a lot of reasons, but I think (total guess on my part) is that it is a legacy of when we (librarians) did less business electronically.  We live in a time of email and other forms of online communication. Now days things can happen faster because we can communicate more easily and more often. We agree to take on projects at MLA then scurry around next March/April to make sure something was accomplished before the meeting again in May. We don’t even read and approve the prior meetings minutes until a year later at the next meeting. This has given us the nimbleness of an AT-AT in regards to change.

We need to look at ways to speed up processes and work towards the evolution of our organization as well as the groups (Sections, SIGs, Committees, etc.) within our organization.  So this Twitter chat will focus on ways that we as a group can work toward improving the speed at which we accomplish things.  Because waiting a year to approve something makes any organization sluggish and less adaptable to responsive change.

What are your ideas for making us more nimble?

Come share your thoughts and perspectives! Never participated in a #medlibs or other Twitter chat before? Check out this overview and come on in, we’re a supportive community and are especially keeping an eye out to welcome and support your participation if you’ve just heard about this community for the first time during the meeting.



Looking for Writers for Krafty Blog

I have mentioned in previous posts that this year while I am president of MLA my blog poses several challenges for me.

The first challenge is time.  Several people have asked me over the years about how I find the time to do things. I am creative with my time.  Sometimes I write instead of watching TV.  If I find myself at a child’s sports practice where there is free wifi, I may write.  When my children go to bed they often want me to sit in the hallway as they fall asleep, they don’t care what I am doing as long as I am nearby to chase away monsters. I get a lot of typing done while in the hallway.  However, as I am traveling more, doing more MLA and work things outside of “normal business hours” I just don’t have as much time to be able to write posts.

My second challenge is my role as president and the role of the blog.  This blog exists to share information and opinions on issues within medical librarianship.  Sometimes the information and opinions are controversial and sometimes they aren’t.  For example, I try to be as objective as possible regarding product reviews, but I realize as president of MLA my product review on this blog may imply an endorsement (or rejection) far beyond the scope of my humble opinion.

Finally, I am looking at ways to make this blog evolve.  The idea of a blog in its traditional format is dead. As the article by Kevin Drum mentions, the conversation that once was on blogs has moved to Facebook and Twitter.  I have seen this with my own blog.  While Facebook and Twitter offer their own opportunities for communicating and connecting with others, it comes with limits.  Twitter has a 140 character limitation.  Facebook offers more than 140 characters but doesn’t lend itself to longer posts that professional blog posts often generate (especially a product review).  So I am trying to figure out the next evolution of my blog. I want to move it from where I am the only writer to where I might have several writers and make it more of a destination for more voices on medical librarianship.  (I am not sure how it will all look or happen, quite frankly I’m wingin’ it.)

So with these three challenges all facing me and my blog, I have decided to ask for people to apply to be a writer for the Krafty Librarian blog.

There are some ground rules…..

1. You don’t have to be a medical librarian BUT this site is about issues within medical librarianship. So you must stick to the overall theme of the site.  I can be very flexible. For example a post about the Apple watch isn’t directly medical library related but we use technology in everything we do, so it could work.  I do NOT want things about the ACA and its impact on society UNLESS you mention how librarians can be a part of it. -Get my drift?

2. Humor and a conversational tone are the primary writing style of this blog, however it will remain professional.

3. I will be creating a Google Calendar for all writers to see.  Depending on the number of people who are accepted, you will be asked to post no more than once a month.  You will be expected to maintain the writing schedule.   If you commit to posting a piece for a certain day you need to honor it.

Additionally, you do not have to be constrained by the calendar.  If there is something late breaking or immediate that you want to write about, feel free to do it. If you want to write more than once a month, then go for it. The calendar is meant to help ensure that we have something relevant posted on regular basis.

4. You will have the freedom to write about any topic or have any opinion, with a few caveats.  First, it must be related to medical librarianship. Second, your opinions must be stated as such.  Please for your sake and mine, you must be very careful about what is considered fact and what is considered your opinion.  Third, it should be professional. Fourth, you cannot post confidential information (personal or vendor related). Finally, I reserve the right to not publish or remove a post.

5. You won’t be getting paid. For various reasons this blog is not a business endeavor. I take no money in advertising and everything comes out of the pocket of a medical librarian with three kids.  I cannot offer AHIP points either. If you do this, you write because you just want to write.

6. You will retain full authorship and ownership of your post and may promote it and link to it on other mediums and sites. You may repost your own post as long as it is not for profit. I retain the right to promote it and link to it. I will not repost it on any other site other than the Krafty Librarian site. While I will do my best to keep the site up and running and retain posts for as long as possible, I cannot guarantee any posts’ permanence.  Technology failure, storage issues, and other unforeseen events may lead to a post being lost.

So if you are interested, please apply here hope to have things going before August 1st.  I am looking forward to this new evolution.

Join the #medlibs Discussion on 2016 Meeting Changes

Join us tonight May 7, 2015 at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern for a chat on Twitter regarding changes to the 2016 Annual Meeting and brainstorming what changes we could do for future meetings.
(reposted from #medlibs chat blog)
The 2016 meeting will be in Toronto and will be a joint conference with CHLA-ABSC and the International Clinical Librarian Conference (ICLC).  This gives us the perfect opportunity to work with the conference structure and see where we can make some changes that better fit the needs of members.  The Futures Task Force listed several suggestions for changing the annual meeting.  So tune in to the chat this Thursday May 7, 2015 at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern to learn about some of the changes that will be happening.  Also help us brainstorm any changes that we can work on for future meetings.  Just like Rome was not built in a day, planning a conference takes years. So some great ideas may take a while to get in the system but we are listening.

Section Programming Changes at MLA Meetings

The MLA Futures Task Force investigated things members within MLA should/would/want to change going forward.  One of the big things that members wanted to see change was the annual meeting, specifically section programming.  Members expressed frustration that section program themes were too narrow or the program themes were too closely married to the overall annual meeting theme (which was sometimes very narrow). Members wanted an abstract submission process that was responsive to the current topics and trends of librarianship, not dependent on any theme.

In an effort to address members concerns the NPC for the 2016 has changed the submission practice for section programming.  Starting in 2016, the NPC will send a call out for papers and posters and they will not be asked to submit to any specific section driven theme.  Once submission deadline has passed members of section programming will select the best overall abstracts then base the themes and categories off of the approved abstracts.

This is a big change for section programming.  As result, the section planners for 2016 will be meeting in 2015 to discuss the changes going forward with programming planning because it will be a completely different process.  2016 section planners should be aware these changes will be happening, Amy Chatfield sent an email to all sections describing things.

Basically instead of forcing a square abstract peg into a round section programming hole, the section programming hole will be shaped around the shape of the abstract peg. This type of responsive programming is often found at biomedical conferences.  The intention is for this type of responsive programming to continue in 2017 and beyond.  Will it be perfect in 2016, no but we can learn from our mistakes and make tweaks to the process so that we can have the type of programming that our members and the Futures Task Force said we need.

There will be a #medlibs tweet chat discussing the upcoming section programming for 2016 on May 7, 2015. Check for more information as time gets closer.

Nominate Your MLA Leaders for MLA Offices

(reposted from MEDLIB-l)
The MLA Nominating Committee is identifying potential candidates for the fall 2015 election. If you would like to recommend someone to be nominated for president or the board, or would like to be considered yourself, please send current curriculum vitae and a paragraph outlining why the recommended person would be a good candidate to one of the members of the Nominating Committee listed below by May 6th.


The 2015 Nominating Committee members are reviewing the job descriptions for president-elect/president/past president and Board of Directors members and are discussing desired attributes for candidates, as well as the importance of multiple types of diversity in the slate.


You can find the job description for president-elect/president/past president at .

You can find the job description for Board of Directors members at .

Reviewing what is required of people in these positions might help you determine who would be potential candidates.


The process for selecting candidates and electing the MLA president-elect and members of the MLA Board is described on pages 2-4 of the MLA Bylaws, (log in to MLANET to access). The slate will contain at least two candidates for president-elect (president during 2017/18) and at least four candidates for two Board of Directors positions (2016/17-2018/19 term). The Nominating Committee will meet at MLA ’15 in Austin to finalize the list of candidates.


MLA 2015/2016 Nominating Committee:


  • Marie Ascher
  • Donna Berryman
  • Michael Fitts
  • Stephanie Fulton, AHIP
  • Emily Hurst, AHIP
  • Dixie Jones, AHIP, chair
  • Latrina Keith
  • Julie Kwan, AHIP
  • Terri Ottosen, AHIP
  • Brandi Tuttle, AHIP